Spencer WilliamsExplorer

SCUBA Instructor, with an obsession for the mountains.

The Triangle Lake rock slides are just that, naturally formed water slides that are fun for the whole family. The area has large boulders and rocks to spread out and enjoy the sunshine. Complete with cliff jumping this is a great place to bring the family and or friends on a hot Oregon day.

La Jolla Cove is by far the best place in the San Diego area to enjoy the pacific ocean and all it has to offer. A wetsuit is defiantly necessary if you are going to be swimming or snorkeling for an extended period of time. The beach area is incredibly crowded during the weekends and summer so get there very early for a parking and beach spot.

Ponytail falls is a great hike for the whole family. It a short uphill climb from the Horsetail falls area and worth every ounce of sweat. Walking under a waterfall is an experience like non other. And for those that are up for it you can continue the hike to Angel's Rest or Horse Tail Creek.

Crater Lake is a special place; like Yosemite, Yellowstone, or even the Redwoods pictures do not do Crater Lake justice and you need to see it in person to truly appreciate how special a place it is.

The hike around the lake is nice, similar to many other hikes in the area. But what is really amazing is the clarity of the lake. The water has at least 100 feet of visibility, from a kayak or canoe you can look down and see the petrified forest on the bottom. The lake is also popular with local scuba divers, so you may see someone that looks like they are floating in thin air below you.

Great hike to try if you live in or around Eugene. Two routes to the top but both are beautiful and with the effort. From the top you get 360 views of the entire Willamette Valley including University of Oregon and Autzem Stadium.

Mt Waterman is a great day hike, especially for anyone looking to escape the ever sprawling Los Angeles. There are two ways to the top, the fire road is a short and sweet wide open dirt road that will take you directly to the Mt Waterman Ski area. The Mt Waterman Trail is a narrow well maintained hiking trail that winds through the trees on its way to the top. Do be mind full that it gets cold and windy at the top so bring an extra outer layer or two.

Hilltop hot spring is one of the nicer and more convenient tubs off of Benton Road. A man made concrete tub, complete with a valve to control the temperature (kind of). But do be warned that it can get crowded, fitting at most 10 people at a time.

My girlfriend and I made quick stop here on our drive to Crater Lake. The parking lot is easy to find and the trail is pretty quick down to the swimming pool. Even on a crowded summer day the area is large enough to find a rock to perch on top of and dry off in the sun after swimming in the frigid water.

If you are looking for longer version of this hike (that takes you past the Hollywood sign first), start at the Hollywood Sign Parking Area on Beachwood Dr. From here its easy to get to the Hollywood Sign... follow the hundreds of other people on the trail. 0.2 miles before the Hollywood sign you will see a large rock with a plaque on it and a sign for Aileen Getty Ridge Trail, turn right and follow the trail to Burbank Peak. From the peak you can see the Wisdom Tree to the west along the same path.

Semi strenuous hike but completely worth it for the surrounding views and lake itself. Make sure to not accidentally wander into private property or roads on your way up or down, the locals are sensitive to trespassers. For a real treat hike to the lake in the winter or early spring, it’s much harder to find the trail but views are unmatched. For the rock climbers out there; Crystal Crag, for which the trail gets its name, is an amazing and unique place to climb. The crag its self offers both sport and trad routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.11, with a couple routes that go to the summit.

While not the most popular shore dive in La Jolla this is a great alternative to La Jolla Cove (which can become over run with beach goers and have limited parking). This area can be enjoyed by both novice and highly experienced divers. Plenty of underwater wildlife to see. Be prepared for a long surface swim if you are attempting to make a descent in more than 30 feet of water.

Thousand Island is a must see for all avid backpackers or general nature lovers in California. Be aware that the lake is very much a secluded spot and has no easy/short way in or out. But for those who have the drive and physical ability, you will be rewarded with amazing views of the Sierras.

This is a good hike for people training for bigger mountains, or someone who enjoys a good PNW forest hike. I would recommend starting at Horsetail Falls rather than Multnomah Falls. I think it adds a couple miles to the trip, but it’s worth it to hike in and around some of Oregon’s most famous waterfalls, including Ponytail and Triple Falls.

One of my favorite hikes of all time, this one never ceases to impress. If you like waterfalls and tree canopies than this one is for you. It is also possible to begin at Horsetail Falls parking area, though parking can be competitive here. Like others have said this hike does have some steep inclines so some physical conditioning is recommended. And if you feel up to it you can continue past Triple Falls, about 1 mile past the falls the Oneonta Trail starts up and goes all the way to the summit of Larch Mountain.

This is a fun and unique hike unlike any other in Southern California. The hike it self has a bit of everything ranging from up hill climb and down hill climbs to river crossing and switchbacks. At the halfway turnaround point you will find a literal bridge to nowhere, a bridge that ends in the side of a mountain, complete with multiple swimming holes below to enjoy your afternoon lunch by. Do be warned that this is a long and STRENUOUS and VERY EXPOSED. Bring lots of water and plan on stopping at the bridge to rest and enjoy some lunch.

The Ruckle Ridge Hike is not for the faint of heart (bye far the hardest hike in the whole Columbia River Gorge area). DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU ARE VERY WELL CONDITIONED. But for those that do have the ability to tackle it this is an amazing adventure, complete with boulder scrambling, river crossings, and amazing views of the Gorge, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Be sure to bring a large amount of water and good griping boots.

Regardless of how long you are in Crater Lake NP (even just for a couple hours) this hike is a must do. I stopped there just to hike it while I was driving through to Bend from California. It is a fairly short but semi steep hike, my buddy and I were able to make the top in about 30 minutes, and has some of the most spectacular views in all of Oregon (there are a lot in that state). Bring a camera, some water and a snack because once you’re at the top you may stay there for awhile.

I love stopping here on my drives back to LA after backpacking and skiing trips to Mammoth and Yosemite. There are two pools easily accessed from the parking area by a custom built gangplank, a small hotter pool and large cooler one. As mentioned by others the springs do get extremely crowded on weekends and during holiday seasons, and has a problem with people partying and leaving lots of trash. Please pack out what you pack in (that doesn’t mean just carrying your trash out and leaving it in the parking lot either).

This 5-mile loop is great for those looking for a mild 1-2 hour hike with the possibility of connecting to other trails for an all day adventure. If you are in the mood for something more rigorous the loop connects to Palmer Evey Mtwy from Cobal Canyon Mtwy taking you to the top of Potatoe Mountain adding 6 miles to your roundtrip. The loop also connects to Marshall Canyon offering over 30 miles of trails to explore.

Zion’s Overlook Trail is a short and easy hike that provides spectacular views of Zion’s main canyon. Do be aware that this is possibly the most popular hike in the park and you made need to find parking father up highway 9 where possible. If you are comfortable with rock scrambling, head north and climb along the slick slabs above the overlook towards the The East Temple. Here you will find the same and possibly better views of the canyon and surrounding features without the crowds.

The Emerald Pools Trail hike at Zion is great adventure for all experience levels. For less experienced hikers or families with kids this trail is fun and slightly challenging, with a paved concrete path and metal railing leading to the first two pools. For the more experienced hiker this trail can be connected with the Kayenta Trail and Grotto Trail to make a moderate 5-mile loop used as a warm-up on their first day in the park. This trail can be very crowded during the summer season and is only accessible via the Zion Shuttle System between April and October. Also the trail tends to be very muddy and slippery year round so wear appropriate footwear.

This is a great trip for new backpackers or experienced backcountry travelers alike. I have hiked it many times, doing trips spanning from 3 to 6 days. The island does get very hot year round (I have experienced 80 degree heat in January) so be sure to bring plenty of water. The biggest draw for those new to backpacking is that there are multiple spots along the trail (Avalon, Airport in the Sky, and Two Harbors) to resupply, so there is no need to carry large amounts of food or water. And for the experienced adventurer this is a great training ground for larger trails such as the John Muir, Mt Whitney or PCT.